Sukkot is a joyful 7-day Jewish holiday, beginning 5 days after Yom Kippur, in October or September. It’s an annual commemoration of the period immediately after the Exodus from Egypt as well as a harvest festival. In Hebrew, sukkot means “booths” and refers to the temporary shelters, sukkah, that the Israelites built during their 40 years in the desert with Moses.
The main observance of Sukkot is to build a sukkah, eat all meals there and sleep there, although the sleeping part may be contingent on the weather and a variety of interpretations. Essentially, it’s meant to be a happy time, so if sleeping in the sukkah causes undue hardship, it’s excused.
The spirit of Sukkot is that of gratitude for abundance and security in the face of the ultimate impermanence of life.
To build a sukkah raise walls of just about anything as long as it is, on the whole, impermanent. Cover with a roof of wood or leafy branches placed loosely enough that the sky is still visible. Add festive decorations and honored guests.
These pics are from friends of Ronen. Ushpizin means honored guest. Another tradition of Sukkot is to invite friends to share meals in the sukkah. These guests are ushpizin. There’s a very good Israeli film with a Sukkot theme Ushpizin. I recommend it highly.
At prayers, a wand of bound palm, willow and myrtle branches and a citron are waved in the four cardinal directions, to the ground and skyward to symbolize that God is everywhere.